Travelers will often get a warm flush to the face when describing Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, but Laos, their landlocked neighbor, for some reason, gets left out. It is often overlooked, and then once you find it, your mind is completely blown and you get that same warm flush when describing its endless draws. Laos is described as the forgotten country, but there’s no doubt when you leave, you can’t forget it and you don’t want to either. When a travelling experience stays with you, it is important to embrace this new tiny chunk of love in your heart. If Laos and its dramatic mountains, heavenly waterfalls and bountiful jungles have charmed you beyond your wildest expectations, coming home doesn’t have to be the end of your adventure, you can bring the adventure home, here’s how:
Temples are a huge part of Laos because of the Buddhist religion and although you don’t get any famous buildings of grandeur here, you still get many, many, stunningly intricate examples of architecture and design. There are over 32 temples alone in Luang Prabang, so unless you visited Laos with a blindfold on, you simply can’t have missed their unique influence on the skyline. Of course, you don’t have to turn your house into a temple as a reminder, but you can give some pretty cool nods to the culture and faith within your home and outdoor space. One inspiring way to do this is with scent and fragrance. Incense is used in Buddhist temples as a way to show respect and welcome to the Buddhas. It represents enlightenment, ethical discipline and the potential to reach a higher state of being. In all types of Buddhism incense is an important part of the faith, and a really wonderful way to bring Laos into your home. The scents typical of a Buddhist temple tend to be woody and herbal, however, any scent may remind you of your own individual experiences. You could purchase an incense scent in the form of incense, or for less mess and a safer way to spread the scent, some reed diffusers around the home would work well.
Everything you eat here is likely to be absurdly fresh, if bananas at home tasted like that, we wouldn’t need candy! All the food is local and deeply flavourful. Beef Pho, Laos curry, Laos larp and Som Tam Lao are all local, delicious dishes you can easily create back at home. Sure the ingredients might not be from a friendly old man at the roadside selling vegetables, but you can still have fun recreating the smells and textures that take you straight back to that night you sat filling your face for cheap, sipping Beer Laos, watching the magical sunset along Mekong. Lookup some simple recipes and start building up spices and ingredients specific to Laos cuisine, so you can introduce family and friends to the wonderful cuisine you experienced during your trip. We love this gorgeous looking Chicken Lahp recipe from Food From Northern Laos which used simple ingredients available at any supermarket.
Even if you’re not a keen photographer, you’d be mad not to have taken a few snaps during your time in this vibrant haven. Slow, trickling meandering rivers meeting fast, daunting currents of the Mekong, edgy peaks and crystal lagoons, secret creeks and terraced rice paddies – Laos is achingly stunning. Why not have some of your snaps put onto a canvas, or running through a digital photo frame? If you’re not keen on an actual photo, you could even purchase some Laos art online, that represents the style of the place. Framing some weaved material featuring Buddha, or even a closeup of some interesting architecture from a temple. Anything visual that reminds you of Laos could be all you need to provide a quick getaway to some fabulous memories.
As Laos is landlocked, it is the beautiful rivers that are the veins pumping life through this vibrant nation. On the rivers there are people living, people trading, people moving, and people simply being. As the rivers sit away from the main cities and bustle of cluttered roads and towns, they provide access to a more tranquil and untouched life. If you were lucky enough to explore Laos and the serene life on the rivers, you have an easy way to bring Laos back to you in your home. A simple water feature is your fast pass to a rather lovely aural Laos reminder. It doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy, you’re just looking for that delicious trickling water sound. We might recommend placing it in an area you spend time in for relaxation. Perhaps a yoga space in the garden, or your meditation space in the home. Somewhere you can close your eyes, breath deeply and allow the sounds of dancing liquid to transport you back to those tranquil trips along the Laos waterways.
Remember, your experience was so personal to you, it is important you stick to your strongest memories and connect them with things you can recreate or pay homage to in your own home. It could be something as simple as an aromatherapy oil on a piece of material that you smell whenever you want reminding of your time doing yoga by the river, or the sounds of a certain instrument that takes you right back to a remote temple you visited in the mountains during the most difficult hike you ever attempted. The color of the leaves on the tree’s outside a hut you stayed in, or the feel of material you slept on in a certain area. Be creative and enjoy seeking reminders of your unforgettable experience in this magical and vibrant country.